Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Morning With Grandpa PLUS A Giveaway!!!

I am beyond thrilled to be sharing today’s Perfect Picture Book!

First off, it’s a lovely book that celebrates both the loving relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter and the importance of mindfulness and the mind/body connection.

Second, it was written by my friend, author and illustrator Sylvia Liu,and is her debut picture book as an author, and it is always wonderful when a Perfect Picture Book has been written by a friend!

Third, it comes with special treats! 🙂

Treat #1 is that Sylvia is joining us today to personally provide the “Resource” section of the post.   She is going to explain in detail how  you can expand on her picture book at home and in the classroom!

Treat #2 is that she is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky winner!

So let’s begin by meeting her!  Hi, Sylvia!

Sylvia Liu pic © K Woodard Photography

Sylvia Liu, author of Morning With Grandpa, also a talented illustrator, and also the co-creator of the not-to-be-missed website Kidlit411 (Photo Credit – Copyright K. Woodard Photography)

Sylvia Liu is an environmental lawyer turned children’s author and illustrator. A MORNING WITH GRANDPA is her debut picture book as an author. She is inspired by oceans, aliens, cephalopods, and more. She lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her online at enjoyingplanetearth.com.

And now, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to her Perfect Picture Book: A Morning With Grandpa!

MorningWithGrandpa_cover

Title:  A Morning With Grandpa

Written By: Sylvia Liu

Illustrated By: Christina Forshay

Lee & Low Books, April 2016, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: relationships (grandparent/grandchild), mindfulness, tai chi, yoga

Opening: “Mei Mei watched Grandpa dance slowly among the flowers in the garden.  He moved like a giant bird stalking through a marsh.  His arms swayed like reeds in the wind.

‘What are you doing, Gong Gong?’ asked Mei Mei.

‘I am practicing tai chi,” said gong Gong.  “This form is called White Crane Spreading Its Wings.’

Brief Synopsis: (from the publisher) Mei Mei learns tai chi from Gong Gong and teaches him yoga. While their styles are different, they enjoy their time together.

Links To Resources:  Today’s resources are detailed below in a special note from author Sylvia Liu.

The Benefits of Tai Chi and Yoga for Kids By Sylvia Liu

As stressed out and busy adults, we know the value of taking a moment out of our hectic days to calm our minds, meditate, or just breathe. Mindfulness relaxes, de-stresses, builds immunity, and promotes mental and physical health.

Tai chi and yoga are mind-body practices from Asia (tai chi originated in China and yoga in India) that promote health through body movement, breathing, and mindfulness. Meditation and qi gong are others.

When I wrote A MORNING WITH GRANDPA, my goal was to share a fun grandparent and grandchild story involving tai chi or qi gong to introduce children to these lesser known practices. I have since learned that children benefit from these practices in so many ways:

  1. Learning mental stillness helps counteract the sensory overload that comes from 24/7 entertainment, excessive screen time, and over scheduled lives.
  1. Tai chi and yoga instill discipline, concentration, and body awareness.
  1. Tai chi and yoga provide physical exercise and challenges in a non competitive way. Yoga increases strength, flexibility, and coordination.
  1. Both tai chi and yoga are rooted in natural forms and poses. Practicing these disciplines help children connect with nature.
  1. The calming, concentration, discipline, and self-confidence that develop with these practices can reduce symptoms of ADHD.
  1. Purposeful movement and concentration help put children in a learning state of mind.

Teachers and parents, when you read A MORNING WITH GRANDPA with your students and children, here are a few activities you can try that are fun and provide stress relief (for you and the kids):

Belly Breathing

Have you ever noticed a baby breathing? Their bellies go up and down, naturally breathing in a way that provides the most oxygen to their bodies.

Breathing to your diaphragm or belly is an integral part of these practices. For this exercise, sit comfortably. Breathe through your nose and slowly fill up with air, directing the air to your belly. Your belly should expand slightly. As you breathe out, empty your lungs first and then your belly. Do a slow count while breathing in (maybe to 3 at first, but later you can count to 5 or more) and breathe out to the same count.

Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth as you do this breathing exercise.

Relaxation Breathing

 I learned this from yoga: if you exhale for a longer time than you inhale, your body will automatically relax. This is because it causes your vagus nerve to send a signal to your brain to turn up your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls rest, relaxation, and digestion. (If you take a quick, short breath, you generate the opposite response, signaling your sympathetic system to pumps up your heart rate and get your adrenaline going for a “fight or flight” response).

Inhale to a count of two, hold for a count of one, and then exhale gently counting to four, and hold for a count of one.

Try the Poses

Look up tai chi or yoga poses on YouTube or check out the back matter in the book and give some a try.

Thanks, Susanna, for letting me stop by your site as part of the blog tour for A MORNING WITH GRANDPA!

(Thank YOU so much for joining us, Sylvia, and for offering the giveaway!!! 🙂 )

Further Reading:

The Benefits of Yoga for Kids

Say Yes to Yoga for Kids with Attention Deficit

Studies on Tai Chi Show Many Benefits for Children

A Simple Breathing Exercise to Calm the Mind & Body

Why I Like This Book:  In today’s busy world where so much of our time is spent indoors staring at screens, a book that celebrates physical movement, mindfulness, and being outdoors in nature is so welcome!  And what a wonderful and inspiring role model for young readers!  I think many kids will be up on their feet trying out the tai chi forms and yoga poses demonstrated by Gong Gong and Mei Mei 🙂  I like that both adult and child have something to offer the other, something to teach and something to learn, and that they take each other seriously and are willing to try each other’s activities.  I also think it’s wonderful that Gong Gong accepts that Mei Mei is trying, even though her exuberance might not be quite the way tai chi is usually performed, and doesn’t chide or discourage her, and that she in turn treats him with the same respect when his older body has a hard time with poses that she is strong and flexible enough to manage easily.  The descriptions of the forms are written in lovely, evocative language.  The art is also lovely, making the garden look bright and appealing and making the forms and poses look like fun 🙂  This book won the New Voices Award and it’s no mystery why – it’s a delightful book that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I do!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!!!  One lucky person will win a copy of A Morning With Grandpa!  Just leave us a comment below by Tuesday May 3 at 5 PM EDT telling us about your favorite exercise (no that was not intended to be an oxymoron 🙂 ) and/or way to relax!  Names will be tossed in the Randomizer and a random name will be selected at random and announced randomly on Wednesday or Friday 🙂

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see your delightful picks for this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!!